Think of this post as a HKA meeting (Hair Killers Anonymous). Let me get straight to the point... you, like me for so many years, are killing your hair in your attempt at beautiful locks. In all honesty, unless you have had professional training in hair, you've probably developed some nasty hair habits that you read on a blog written by someone who has no hair education. You hope (keyword hope) these habits will speed up your routine and give you sassy, one of a kind tresses. Unfortunately, these tools are damaging the strength and beauty of your hair in the long run.
Below are the 8 worst (but common, you aren't alone in your battle!) hair habits and their solutions. Read up, ladies!
Remember when Snooki's poof was super in style? Me either. So stop trying to recreate the look. Teasing your tresses on a regular basis is super dangerous for the health of your hair. The protective outer layer of your tresses (cuticle), naturally points down. By pushing the cuticle the opposite direction you create tiny ruffles. When you go to brush the cuticle back in its normal position, you will rip those ruffles right off, exposing the inner layer of your hair. Say hello to breakage, frizz and bad hair days. (For some help in the volume department, try Schwarzkopf Pro Osis+ Dust It Mattifying Powder. No teasing required... meaning no damage done!)
2. Towel Drying
You just got out of the shower and you're cold. I get it. So instead of blow drying your hair, you decide to speed up the process with a little towel drying. STOP IT NOW. The friction applied to hair via towel drying is way too intense for your delicate tresses. It is so intense it can rip and tear cuticle and follicles right out of your head. Keep in mind your hair grows at the root. By towel drying, you damage the entire strand of hair, including the root, meaning it is susceptible to serious breakage until it is cut off. Unless you want to shave your head, stop towel drying today. If anything, pat hair with a towel, don't rub.
If you brush your hair with a BRUSH instead of a COMB when you get out of the shower, you are begging for two things: hair that resembles a mop, and a smack in the face from your stylist (or me). No. NO. NOOO. When your hair is wet, the cuticle is more susceptible to serious breakage. Therefore, that huge bristled brush is probably the worst idea you've ever had. Use a wide tooth comb instead and you won't look like Chewbacca with all that breakage. Chewie will thank you, you're giving him a bad name when you use that brush (even he knows to comb).
4. Overusing Product
I am all about using product to enhance the beauty and strength of tresses. However, there is such a thing as TOO much & TOO many products. Overdoing it will result in build up and removal of natural hair oils. Whether you have natural, thin, fine, normal or thick hair, you CAN actually take product to the dark side. Avoid this by using way less than you think you need. Then, over time adjust product to the perfect level.
Make sure you are including the following 3 products in your regimen:
Dry Shampoo like Indie Hair Dry Shampoo
Heat Protectant like AG Hair Firewall
Shine Serum like Kenra Classic Shine Serum
Here's the good news, plucking a gray hair won't cause 10 to grow in its place. Why? Well, hair turns gray when the pigmentation around the hair follicle dies. Since the follicle is no longer producing pigment (the color of your hair), the new hair will also be gray. However, each follicle only sprouts one strand of hair. Unless the surrounding pigment dies, the hair won't turn white, regardless of being plucked out.
Now for the bad news. Plucking hairs out prematurely is seriously damaging to the skin tissue around the hair follicle. If you want the hair gone, the only healthy solution (just like with split ends) is to cut it.
If your pony makes you say "ouch", it's never a good thing. In fact, repeatedly wearing super sleek, tight, painful pony's can cause traction alopecia, a big word for hairline trauma. Pulling on these follicles via a painful pull back will cause follicles around the scalp to eventually stop producing. Worse, scaring can occur visibly on the hairline. Avoid this trauma by using soft elastics instead of metal-clipped pony holders which tear into hair and create serious breakage. Not to mention, if you get a headache or sore scalp while your hair is up, immediately let loose that hair!
7. Brushing From the Roots Down
Believe it or not, there is an art to brushing your hair. Brushing from the roots down is NOT part of the masterpiece. This can cause serious snags and breakage (hence the mound of hair in your sink when you brush your hair). The safest way to brush is to divide hair into 3 to 5 inch sections (depending on the density of your hair). Grab hair a few inches from the bottom and slowly work your way up until you reach the roots.
While flipping your hair over does give hair some serious volume, you are blow drying the hair cuticle in the wrong direction, creating those ruffles we talked about earlier. If you want to score major volume try using a volumizer like Big Sexy Hair Powder Play which will give the same volume without damaging the natural flow of hair.
Next time you go to the salon, pay close attention to the treatment your stylist gives you hair. 99.9% of the time, she/he isn't going to do any of the above (minus teasing, but keep in mind they are pros).